Victoria still wants to replace Crystal Pool, but details remain fuzzy
Ian Holliday, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, October 17, 2019 8:01PM PDT
VANCOUVER - A replacement for Victoria's Crystal Pool has been on the city's agenda for years, and it's likely to be at least a few more before a new facility is in place.
Currently, there is no design, no funding in place and no location for the new pool. There isn't even agreement on whether it will be 25 or 50 metres long.
After years of planning and plenty of stops and starts, city staff sought clarity from city councillors Thursday on just what they want from a new Crystal Pool - or even whether they want one at all.
Council voted to build a new pool back in February 2017. Since then, the wheels have come off the plan.
The North Park Neighbourhood Association and residents who live near the current Crystal Pool have objected to plans to build a new one alongside it in Central Park because of the loss of green space that would entail.
Other ideas for locations -- including in the nearby Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre parking lot and at Central Middle School -- have also been busts, leaving the project in limbo.
Roughly $2 million has been spent on designing and planning for a new pool over the past two and a half years, and Mayor Lisa Helps says the project is still definitely going ahead, but it's important to make sure everyone's on board.
On Thursday, council confirmed any new pool won't be built at the existing site, but will likely be built nearby. One idea floated was the site of the former Blanshard Elementary School.
City staff is expected to return to council before the end of the year with a more specific plan.
The project will cost an estimated $70 million, and will need to be approved in a referendum if the city plans to borrow money for it.
If the project goes ahead, it's expected to take five years to complete.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Robert Buffam